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Agriculture Today

Horticultural field day is June 26 in Overton

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Robert Burns
June 11, 2014 | 4,849 views | Post a comment

For the first time since 2009, the 2014 Overton Horticultural Field Day will include vegetable trials in addition to the hundreds of bedding plant trials that are the standard fare, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Research experts.

Set this year on June 26 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton, gardeners, professional landscape managers, and seed company representatives will learn which landscape plants do well under East Texas heat and sunshine at the field day, said Dr. Brent Pemberton, AgriLife Research ornamental horticulturist.

There is no cost to attend the field day which will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the center’s North Farm site, about 4 miles north of the Overton Center on F.M. 3053.

The field day will feature more than 500 bedding plants, including geraniums, petunias, verbena, and begonias in outdoor plots, said Pemberton.

Newer additions will include Napier grasses, almost all of the commercially available varieties of seed-grown pentas and a large number of new New Guinea impatiens entries, he said.

New Guinea impatiens have received a lot of attention due to the fact that they are resistant to downy mildew, he said, and also noted the impatiens are great plants for shade gardens.

Also included this year will be more Napier grasses, which are purple- leaved ornamental plants, he said. The emphasis will be on some of the newer tall varieties that are just coming to market.

There is also a huge selection of geraniums this year. New interspecific hybrids that have better heat tolerance are becoming widely available now and many are in the trials.

The bedding plant industry has had a $500 million annual economic impact on the region for at least a decade, and though not recession proof, it hasn’t experienced the downturn in consumer spending that other businesses have in the last couple of years, Pemberton said.

For more information, including driving directions, call 903-834-6191 or visit http://flowers.tamu.edu/field-day/.

Robert Burns has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about agriculture and agricultural-related research. He writes about Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service activities at the Overton Center and centers in Stephenville and Temple.

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